Understanding and estimating vegetation mass and productivity in recent years has become increasingly important, especially with advancements in environmental economic valuation.
Urban planners have realized the vital role vegetation plays in reducing ambient temperature, moisture and pollutant capture, energy use and subsequent ground level ozone reduction. Vegetation mapping through the use of advanced remote sensing technology enables researchers to quantify and qualify the amount and health of vegetation within urban centers. Growth models, climate change scenarios and detailed valuation studies can be carried out, allowing for accurate day-to day management and future planning.
Terra’s LiDAR and hyperspectral data were used in a vegetation mapping study over Chicago, Dallas and Milwaukee, which sought to identify individual Ash trees, which were infected by the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle. This study was a feature story in the PE&RS magazine in 2009.
Recently, using high-resolution hyperspectral imagery provided by Terra, researchers at the University of Victoria made breakthroughs in being able to identify forest stands under ‘green attack’ by the mountain pine beetle. Having the ability to detect tree stands affected by the mountain pine beetle years before tree mortality occurs is the first step towards stemming the tide of extensive damage in conifer forests caused by recent outbreaks of the mountain pine beetle. Vegetation mapping plays a key role in climate change adaptation strategies.